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SOUTH CANAAN, PA [STOTS Communications] – From Monday, July 4th through Thursday, July 7th, The Very Rev. John Kowalczyk (STOTS Director of Field Education) and Matushka Kathy (Seminary Bursar) attended the Greek Orthodox Clergy and Lay Congress in Nashville, TN representing OCPM – Orthodox Christian Prison Ministry. The Congress itself ran from July 3-8 at the famous Gaylord Opryland Convention Center.   You can click here for further congress details.

Photo L-R  Fr. John Kowalczyk, Secretary of the Board of Directors and Matushka Kathy; Paul Polites, Director of Operations, with Vicki Haskopoulos; and Fr. Stephen Powley, Executive Director of OCPM, with Matushka Ashley.

Fr. John answered questions and spoke on the work of OCPM at its conferencebooth.  He also had the opportunity to speak with many of the Greek Orthodox Bishops and Clergy on Orthodox Prison Ministry and personally thank them for the tremendous Pan-Orthodox Support the organization is receiving under the leadership of the Director and Executive Officer of OCPM, the Very Rev. Stephen Powley. 

OCPM was the first agency under the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops in North America, headed by Archbishop Demetrius, to have the newly adopted By-laws to be approved and ratified by the Assembly of Bishops.  Fr. John’s signature was affixed to this document as the Secretary of the Board of Directors of OCPM.

Last September, “Leadership  100 of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese” presented a grant to OCPM to have a series of teaching Videos ready for distribution to all the canonical parishes in the continental United States. This monumental task was completed with the filming of these Videos in September of 2015 in Jacksonville, Florida. These teaching Videos can be downloaded from the official site of OCPM, or click here.  During the Greek Orthodox Clergy Laity Congress the clergy and lay delegates had an opportunity to view these videos again. 

Other agencies were also represented at the congress such as: OCF, OCMC, and IOCC. The Kowalczyks’ had the opportunity to attend the IOCC workshop on the Crisis in the Syria.

Fr. John had this to say about attending the congress:  “The three days were filled with hours of interaction with the delegates and clergy, answering questions and sharing with them, the tremendous work the OCPM is accomplishing.”  Locally Fr. John also facilitiates STOTS seminarians in experiencing ministry to incarcerated persons at SCI Waymart, now as interns as of this year.